Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank you, God, for Hot Pockets.

Today is Thanksgiving, my least favorite holiday of the year.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I love getting together with family. And I love the eating of the food. Who wouldn't? I suspect that even God eats sweet potato casserole on Thanksgiving.

It's the preparing of the food that I dread. My attempts in the kitchen usually fall nothing short of DefCom Five Nuclear Disasters, ending with the placement of a FEMA trailer on our property. In all 50 states, I have been forbidden by law to change my last name to Pillsbury, Stouffer, Crocker, and Mills, lest the association with my cooking causes certain food manufacturing companies to go bankrupt. 

In fact, the top three items on my What I'm Thankful For list are
1. take-out pizza
2. the entire cereal aisle at the grocery store
3. crackers

See, if I had been a Pilgrim, this is how the first Thanksgiving would have happened.

Hubster: We have a lot to be thankful for. Let's invite our Native American friends to share in our bounty by sharing a meal with us.
TC: Great! I'll prepare that new instant oatmeal.
Hubster: Hey, isn't that made by those heathen Quakers?
TC: Yeah, but the Native Americans don't know that.

This year, we are celebrating the day with some friends, so I have been appointed the task of bringing the dessert. One would think I could manage a pumpkin pie or two, wouldn't one? One should really get in touch with reality.

Yesterday, I had all the necessary ingredients assembled on the counter. I was sort of hoping some kind of magic would occur, a la Beauty and the Beast - the canned pumpkin and the spatula and the pie crust would do a song and dance and then combine to make themselves into a pie that would win the Bake-Off Prize of the Century.

But that didn't happen. (And by the way, I will never forgive Walt Disney for causing me to have such high expectations out of life - princes on white horses, mice that sew, cars with the voice of Owen Wilson...)

Anyway. Here is what I learned from the experience.

I own only one can opener. The old-fashioned kind, that you use to puncture holes in the tops of lids of evaporated milk.
My only can opener hasn't been used in 15 years.
My only can opener is extremely difficult to locate.
My only can opener might be in the very back of the drawer of kitchen utensils.
In the front of the drawer of kitchen utensils, I have ice cream scoops.
Six ice cream scoops.
One of my ice cream scoops is adorned with a cow's head that actually moos when you dip out the ice cream.
A mooing ice cream scoop should be enough to keep one from eating too much ice cream and thereby gaining weight, but it isn't.
Therefore: a 15-year old can opener caused me to get fat.

In summary, have a blessed Thanksgiving, and eat all the cranberry sauce you'd like. I didn't make it, so it's safe.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Hockey Mom's Letter to Santa Claus

Dear Santa,

I have been very good this year. Remember that one game where a mom from the opposing team threw a triple-A hissy fit because my son checked her son? Even though I wanted to go over there and rearrange the sparkly gems on her t-shirt so that instead of saying "Hockey Mom," it would read "Whiney Mom," I restrained myself. I didn't even say anything ugly to her. Out loud. If you just say it in your head, it doesn't count, right?

Okay. I admit I didn't sell anything for the team fundraiser. But that wasn't really my fault. With the economy being so poor, people just aren't buying Tupperware Corn Cob Keepers like they used to.

Anyway. If you could put the following under my Christmas tree, I'd be happier than a couple of Zamboni drivers playing bumper cars.

1. A new coat to wear to the rink. It needs to be lightweight, able to keep me warm in -30 degree temperatures, quick to remove (in case of a hot flash), and make me look like Catherine Zeta Jones instead of Kung Fu Panda.

2. I've heard that diabetics can now get this machine called an insulin pump, that delivers the right dose directly into their system when it's needed. Can you get me one of those? But I need it to pump shots of espresso. With peppermint mocha syrup.

3. An Odor-Eater the size of a body pillow, to stuff in my son's hockey bag after practice.

4. Heated cute shoes. (Wool socks make my feet look fat.)

5. One of those big electronic megaphones. Apparently, the coaches and players can't hear my advice when I yell from the stands. And I just know that if they would follow my instructions, our team would be undefeated and my eight-year-old son would already have an NHL contract.

Yours Truly,

P.S. Don't count on having milk and cookies at my house. There's a hockey player living here, you know.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Why we don't use ace bandages for headaches.

NOTE: This entry was originally posted on Feb. 1, 2006. It is being reprinted here at the request of my wonderfully funny friend, The Moodie Foodie.

Perhaps you, like I, have spent many a sleepless night pondering the issue of why we don't use ace bandages for headache relief. It's a question that has plagued mankind for centuries. Or at least since the invention of the ace bandage back in 1932.


Well, I think I have found the answer. We don't use an ace bandage for headache relief because it makes you look like a flaming nut case.

Exhibit A:


That, my friends, is my firstborn child, The Human Q-Tip.

And does anyone else see a resemblance here?

Can I get a parenting do-over?

Everyone aquainted with my daughter, Bunhead, knows that she believes that in any given situation, she should be wearing the t-shirt that says, "I'm The Person In Charge." When she was six, if you asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she didn't say, "a princess" or "a ballerina" or "a mommy." No. Her planned career path was Evil Dictator.

Fast forward ten years. This was the conversation I overheard in our kitchen last week.

15-year-old Fashion Bug, to Bunhead: What are you making?
Bunhead: Eggnog.
FB: Can I have some?
Bunhead: Only if you do what I say.
FB, hesitantly: Okay... but I'm not going to kill anyone for you.

Great. I read all the wrong parenting books. Here I was all worried about stranger danger and peer pressure and sex education, when I should have been pouring over How to Extortion-Proof Your Child and So Your Daughter Wants to be Head of the Mafia!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The award that's custom made for me.

I don't know if I'll win Best Humor Blogger over at the Homeschool Blog Awards. I'm up against some pretty stiff competition, and I have a small campaign budget. Like, in the neighborhood of $0.00. Unless you count the fact that I bought myself a box of Junior Mints to boost the morale of my campaign; that would put me $0.65 in the red. I feel a need for a bailout coming on.

Anyway. I've thought of an award that much better suits my blogging style. Next year, I'm going to win the Most Redneck Homeschool Blogger award. 

Here's why. 

We recently decided to remodel the guest bathroom here at Agony Acres. I wanted to go for a spa look, so we tore out the pink floral gag-a-rama wallpaper that had been taped to the uninsulated sheet rock since 1975. We painted the room a lovely taupe shade, and then put in a new counter top.
But wait, there's more.

We decided that since we'd gone that far, we should really blow our whole wad. So we sprang for some new 2x4s.

Now, I've heard that in spas there is often a fountain and some chimes, so that you are lulled into relaxation by the sound of trickling water and soft tinkling tones. (Not to be confused with the tinkling tones and trickling water in the actual bathroom... never mind.) Anyway. There's no room in this bathroom for a fountain, and what with the purchase of the new lumber, I couldn't afford chimes. But I've come up with a substitute.

For the sound of water, I go into the next room and throw a load of Hubster's tightie-whities into the washing machine. For the sound of chimes, I put a couple of pairs of my sons' jeans into the dryer, where the inventory of a hardware store falls out of their pockets and clangs around in the dryer drum. (I have a theory: I think my boys have been giving their underwear to gypsies in exchange for bits of shiny metal.)

But wait, there's more.

Hubster decided to replace the commode. He says whoever invented the low-flow toilet obviously never ate at our local Mexican eatery, Taco Tico Mayo Me-o Ee-I-Ee-O, on All You Can Eat Bean Burrito Night. He also mentioned that Mr. Low-Flow Toilet Inventor should be kicked in a certain region of his anatomy, but since this is a family friendly blog, I'll move on.

Now, if you have an old toilet perched on your back porch, you might be a redneck.

And if you have a cow who comes to the back porch to look in your windows, you might be a redneck.

But when you have a cow who comes to drink rainwater out of the toilet on your back porch, you are definitely a redneck.
I just hope the award is more 2x4s, because we need a place to hang the towels.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Abbott & Costello Go To the Emergency Room (or, My Family's Version of "Who's On First?")

Cast of characters:

My father, a stubborn old Dutchman who is deaf as a post.
My mother, a sweet but memory-impaired woman whose technological skills never progressed past using a television - with a dial.
Me, TC, the designated worrier of our family


Saturday morning. I have received a call from my sister to let me know that my dad is in the Emergency Room with "lung pain." I am half a continent away.

TC calls her mother's cell phone. The phone rings several times (TC imagines that her mom at first wonders why the heart monitor is ringing, and then can't find the phone, and then can't figure out what button to push to receive the call). Then the connection is made, but there is only background noise as TC hears, "I don't know how to answer it! .... No, I don't know who it was. ... Well, maybe they'll call back."

Phone clicks off.

TC, sighing, dials again.

Mom: Hello?
TC: Having trouble with your phone?
Mom: No, why?
TC: Never mind. How's Dad? Have they done an x-ray?
Mom: No, all they did was an EKG. Here's your dad.
TC: Hi, Dad. How are you feeling?
Dad: Hungry. I hope I get out of here before lunch.
TC, rolling eyes: Okay, well, are you going to get a chest x-ray?
Dad: They already did one! And an EKG. And they took some blood.
TC: Oh, Mom said you'd only had an EKG. 
Dad: No, I had an x-ray.
Mom, in the background: When did you have an x-ray?
Dad, raising his voice: Don't you remember when they wheeled me out of here?!
Mom, dubiously: Oh yes.
Dad: Now we're waiting for the doctor. I hope someone brings me something to eat.
TC: Okay, well, I'll call back a little later.
Dad: Why don't you call back later?
TC: That's what I just said!

About an hour later, via cell phone again.

TC: Hi, Dad, how're you feeling?
Dad: Good! They brought me a hamburger! I told the nurse to order up a pizza for us.
TC, shaking her head: Okaaayyy. Well, how about your pain? What did the doctor say?
Dad: Dr. Bay? Who's he?
TC: No, what did the doctor SAY?
Dad: I have to have more tests.
TC: What kind of tests?
Dad: A CT scan, I think.
Mom, in the background: It's a clot in his lung.
Dad, raising his voice: No, that's not what they said! They don't know what it is. 
Mom, in the background: Oh. I thought they said something about your lung.
Dad, irritably: They DID. Something about a spot on the x-ray.
Mom: When did you have an x-ray?
TC, sighing: Okay, well I'll call back later.
Dad: Why don't you call back later? I'm going to see if the nurse can bring me some cake or something.
TC sighs.

About two hours later, via cell phone again.

TC: Hey, Dad, what's the story?
Dad: I have a clot in my lung.
Mom, in the background: No, that's not what they said!
TC, suddenly understanding the situation: Dad, you don't have your hearing aids in, do you?
Dad: WHAT?
Dad: No!
Dad: No! But your mother will tell me later.
TC, muttering: Yeah, great, we'll get all the details from the one who can't remember what year it is.
Dad: That hamburger sure was good for hospital food. I wonder if I can get one to go?
TC feels a migraine coming on.

In the end, the final diagnosis remains a mystery. For all I know, my father could have had an entire lung removed and been given some experimental nuclear medicine and turned into a hamster while he was in there. It's not like I'll ever find out - my mother doesn't even remember the visit to the ER, and my dad's still talking about that hamburger.

Monday, November 10, 2008

So I thought, Why should I keep all this fun to myself?

Last night I realized I hadn't exercised in quite a while, so I got out my 10x mirror. Looking at myself in that thing gets my heart rate up to anaerobic levels, and I don't even have to break a sweat. The bad part is that instead of getting a runner's high, I get a magnifier's depression.

Anyway. Using my mirror, I discovered my head has more silver than a Taos gift shop. My 25th wedding anniversary is coming up in a couple of years, and you know that's the silver anniversary. As opposed to the 50th, which is the golden anniversary. It's named that because if you've lived that long, your kids are probably wondering if they can get any money from your gold dental work. So.  I figure that, by my silver anniversary, with a few flowers and one of those glittery floral picks that say "25" stuck in my hair, my head can be the centerpiece. With any luck, all of our guests will also be needing 10x mirrors to see anything clearly, so they won't notice.

But that's not the point of this post. The point - and I do have one - is this. I didn't have gray hair until I had children. Specifically, one child. Specifically specifically, Danger Boy, who last week celebrated his eighteenth birthday.

I thought it might be nice to share with the world just a little of what I've witnessed over the last 18 years.

<-- For over two years, we didn't have to use a lawn sprinkler. Just set the boy outside and made sure he spent a few extra minutes around the flower beds. 


The consummate air traveler. Note: this was before 9/11, when passengers were allowed to take their own pacifiers through security.

And you thought Post-It notes were just for, well, notes. Betcha didn't know you can use them to block alien brain waves.

<--- Homeschool multitasking: doing math & gymnastics at the same time!

When traveling by car, most people take 10-minute restroom breaks. Not Danger Boy. He takes unauthorized 30-minute rock climbing expeditions and gets back in the car with four pounds of dirt in his shoes, smelling of skunk cabbage.

Danger Boy Principle #12: An activity isn't any fun unless you ramp up the potential injury factor times 50.

The infamous "Brownie Ball" challenge.

Followed by "Bag of Burned Popcorn Ball."

Chronicles of Danger, chapter 2, verse 8: And God made trees, and He commanded Danger Boy to climb to the top, yea, the very top of the tree. Then the Lord did say, "Behold, see the land below you which I have created. And see your mother having heart failure. Verily."

*sigh* He's cute. He's funny. And I hope God gives him a kid (or six) just like him.